And now for something completely different…
Of the yaoi books I picked up at Barnes & Noble the other day, Hanayome-kun/Mr. Flower Bride was one. (You can find it for yourself on Mangagogo: http://www.mangago.me/read-manga/hanayome_kun/)
I… I don’t even know what to tell you about this one, but… okay…. here goes nothing.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… the set-up of this story has a weird amount of milage. I mean, I spent far too much time as I was falling asleep imagining different scenarios in the universe where this exists… and I had far better uses for my brain space, for real.
What we have in Hanayome-kun/Mr. Flower Bride is the Souda family, who are described on the back of the volume as ‘powerful,’ and who have a very ancient, very WTF tradition, which goes like this, “If the eldest son becomes a father to a son, his younger brothers must marry a male in order to prevent disputes over family succession.”
*raises hand* I have a few questions. The first of which is what the hell does the Souda family even do? Are they mafia? Because seriously what kind of ‘power’ do you have to wield for this to have worked ‘through the generations’????? Because, it’s not just forced marriage, it’s forced GAY marriage.
But, of course, none of that ever discussed in the manga. Even though that’s the question that kept me up half the night. That, and the fact that when we’re introduced to Uno (the flower bride himself) he’s apparently been preparing for this ‘job’ by taking ikebana and cooking classes.
I think this is the part that had me like, ???
What was that like and how long did it go on?
I was all, okay, you two two boys go do your weeping falling in love thing, I’m going to be over here imagining this whole cadre of dudes who are signing up for cooking classes because they’re competing to become a clan bride to this ‘powerful’ family.
Like, seriously, the thing I lay awake wondering about is, where’s the story of Uno’s family, right? Like, did his papa one day, when he was what, three? (because seriously these two boys aren’t even out of high school) pull him aside and say, “Look, son, you seem… like the sort… and we need the money really desperately… so, I know you thought you might be a fisherman like me and your brothers are. But, your mom and I, we’re going to spend the meager savings we’ve scrapped together over the years so you can learn the art of flower arranging. Do your best! The family is counting on you!”
Instead, the majority of this manga is about hapless Shinji, the younger brother to the heir, who got the VERY BAD NEWS that he’s now going to be forced into a gay marriage for reasons of FAMILY TRADITION. Luckily, Teh Gay is very catchy, especially when confronted with a boy as beautiful as Uno.
I… yeah, I read the whole volume, even the other stories at the end about other members of this ‘powerful’ family… and I’m not sue why. The sex, what there was of it, was very sappy and heteronormative.
Given what happens in chapter 6 “Even if it Costs my Life,” it seems pretty clear that the Souda are yakuza. There aren’t any tattoos or anything obvious like that, but in that chapter we follow one of the heirs who needs a bodyguard because people are trying to kill him. When one of his classmates pulls a knife, she tells him she has to kill him because ever since her father borrowed that money, he has to do whatever the Souda say.
So, it’s get’s better, right? Because now there’s an angle you could use to tell the story of the handsome fisherman’s son I imagined previously with another twist… the mafia family goes trolling for boys they think will make good “wives,” offer money… I mean THIS PRACTICALLY WRITES ITSELF.
And, yet somehow, Hoshino-sensei never, ever wrote the actual story I wanted.
(My gods, am I going to have to ask for Yuletide fic of this one too?)